The group was formed in 2016 and we started our first line in May with 12 box traps. More funds have been donated by our community since and combined with some success in applying to Dept of Conservation National free trap allocations over the years the total now stands at 53 which includes 11 donated Timms traps.
The traps are placed immediately alongside 13.5 Kilometres of the Kelvin Peninsula walking and biking track which stretches from the new Kawerau bridge or Hilton Hotel encompassing the Peninsula Golf Course and then on to meet at our common boundary with the Jacks Point predator control groups activities. The parts of the track that have good cover for predators have been targeted and some low cover or residential areas have been bypassed in the meantime.
The catch rate is showing signs of a lowering result — which is the ultimate aim — but not as much fun. A big hit on the possums with leghold traps in the winter of 2018 with a follow up in the winter of 2019 netted 375 possums on a 4 km section of track. This has made a visible difference to the recovery of smaller shrubs and trees. Two small elderberry trees close to each other netted one possum per tree per night (16 in total) over eight nights and then nothing. How each of those trees withstood all of that grazing each night of the year is mind boggling.
Traps currently in place and frequency of checking
Our traps are split into three lines and each have a different manager. In the summer the traps are baited two weekly as the bait deteriorates more quickly and three weekly in the winter. We are totally grateful to these guys for the volunteer effort they put in. It’s a time consuming and physical job for this keen and energetic team.
Usage of area
The Jacks Point walking track is part of the Wakatipu Basin’s walking and biking tracks trail system and serves as the artery for the KPCA’s trapping access. The surrounding countryside is mostly farmland and scrub, with bush covered DoC and Linz land through which the trail and the trap line is placed.
An application to the 2019 Dept. of Conservation’s National Grant Fund for 25 more traps would give us a good chance to fill some glaring gaps in the line and possibly start a new line at a higher altitude. We hear in July if we are successful or not.
Our predator kill tally has just passed 800 with 71 mustelids and 32 feral cats being the standout catches. We get really encouraging feedback from our locals about the bird recovery and reports of quail coveys of 20 – 40 are now more common. Increasing fantail sightings is regarded by most as a good sign too as this species is reported to bounce back the quickest.
Contact person/s and details:
Colin Kelly. Ph 4418308
Not just at the moment but any extensions to the existing lines would require further help as it’s already a good commitment physically to manage.